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National Weather Service warns of spring floods

Posted on Monday, March 18, 2019 at 2:17 pm

File photo for illustration purposes. Sandbags protect downtown Clarksville.

By Adam Thorp

lpjed@lcs.net

As forecasters project big spring flooding along the Mississippi, leaders in flood-prone Clarksville are preparing to weather the storm.

An updated “Spring Flood Outlook” published by the National Weather Service’s St. Louis office last week said major flooding was more likely than not at every point where they measure the river’s depth from Quincy, Ill. to Chester, Ill., with the exceptions of Grafton, Ill., and Louisiana, Mo., where the odds are just under 50 percent.

The outlook covers a period from Monday, March 11 to June 9.

At Clarksville, the NWS gave a greater than 95 percent chance of minor flooding (over 25 feet) and moderate flooding (over 31 feet) and a 88 percent chance of major flooding over that period. The risk of major flooding at Clarksville in a normal year is 12 percent.

The NWS reckons there is a 10 percent chance that the river crests at least 38 feet, above the highest ever recorded by the Army Corps of Engineers in July of 1993.

The federal agency justifies its ominous reports based on the build up of snow in the northern stretches of the Mississippi River basin, high levels soil moisture, and the current volume of water already moving through the river and its tributaries.

As of Tuesday morning, the Mississippi River at Clarskville and Louisiana were each subject to a flood warning issued by the National Weather Service, which projected that the river at both places will experience minor flooding Thursday and Friday and crest just at the cut-off for moderate flooding late next week.

Local officials prepare

Clarksville has been in the situation before.

“Each year, we are warned, because each year there is water, or ice, or something above us that causes some concern. There’s been a little bit more of that this year, in terms of spring flood potential,” Clarksville Mayor Jo Anne Smiley said.

To see the whole story, including more information on Clarksville’s preparations for the flood and Mayor Smiley’s related trip to Washington, pick up a Louisiana Press-Journal at one of the following convenient locations:

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